Donald Trump Doubles Down On Torture After His Campaign Renounced It

At a rally today in Warren, Michigan, Donald Trump once again said that he would use torture even worse than waterboarding, a stance that contradicts a statement his campaign released earlier today.

“As far as I’m concerned, waterboarding is absolutely fine but we should go much further,” he said.

In a statement today to the Wall Street Journal, Trump said that he wouldn’t use torture as president, despite his claim during the Fox News debate last night that, if elected, he would order the military to use torture and commit war crimes:

Mr. Trump, in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, said he would “use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies. I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities.”

This appears to be a reversal from Thursday night’s GOP debate in Detroit, when Mr. Trump stood by earlier proposals to do things that were a “hell of a lot worse” than waterboarding terrorist suspects and also authorize the military to kill family members of terrorists. “I’ve always been a leader,” he said Thursday night. “I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.”

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director Michael Hayden, said last week that the military would flatly refuse to obey orders to commit torture or kill family members of terrorists, which would break international laws.

Michael Schmitt, director of the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College, said in an interview that ordering the military to torture terror suspects would violate Article 17 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, and people who participate in torture—as well as their superiors and even the U.S. government—could face war crime charges for such behavior.